Letter Writing Campaign About Pawtuckaway State Park Expansion

NH Parks and Recreation has plans to add 35 RV campsites at Pawtuckaway State Park. The current design to the right shows them all grouped on or near the waterfront along the North Channel.

The State Park system is self-funding, so revenue generated from fees does not go into the general fund but is rather used to pay for personnel and maintenance needs of all the state parks. The plan to expand Pawtuckaway campsites is intended to increase revenue and the Pawtuckaway Lake Improvement Association (PLIA) appreciates that need. However, the plan calling for construction of new campsites with water and electric hookups so near a very crowded and vulnerable stretch of the lake is flawed. It threatens the health of the lake as well as its wildlife because of loss of habitat and likely shoreline erosion, not to mention the loss of recreational opportunities and spread of milfoil.

These photos show the stretch along the North Channel that would be affected. For these reasons, the PLIA opposes the existing design of the expansion, as proposed. The State has told us that the design is “conceptual” and can be modified.  Based on that understanding, we want those campsites to be relocated away from the water, where they will not threaten the delicate balance of our lake. If you would like to weigh in on this project, we urge you to send a letter or email to our state officials voicing your opinion. We have drafted a letter summarizing these problems and encourage you to use it, modify its message, or draft one of your own to alert government officials about your concerns. We also have drawn up a list of officials and their contact information. For more information or feedback, please contact the PLIA at Info@pawtuckawaylake.com.


Saturday, June 3, 2023

9:00 AM – noon

Pavilion, Pawtuckaway State Park

Our featured speaker will be Amy Smagula, Chief Limnologist at NH DES. Amy has been providing expert assistance for our Milfoil Team, helping us train Weed Watchers and Lake Hosts, providing expert assistance for our Milfoil Team, doing surveys of Pawtuckaway’s plants and lake health, and monitoring our milfoil infestations.

She will kick off the meeting by addressing the gathering at 9:30 AM about her comprehensive long-term milfoil study and management plan, which may include a recommendation for limited herbicide treatments. Everyone is encouraged to read that plan in advance, here.

Please come to learn more about the history of milfoil and its management on Pawtuckaway Lake-it is now getting out of hand – and bring your questions!

Come also because we have lots of news to share about our organization and the lake, much to celebrate, and future activities to discuss. Your presence makes our meeting more productive and more fun!

Here’s the agenda:

  • 9:00 – 9:30 Registration, Membership, Refreshments
  • 9:30 – 10:30 Speaker and Questions
  • 10:30 – 10:45 Socialize, Program Displays, T-Shirt Sales
  • 10:45 – 11:30 Business Meeting, Program Reports
  • 11:30 – 11:40 Local Hero Award
  • 11:40 – 12:00 Wrap Up; Contest Winner(s)

Please join us for a morning packed with information and discussion. Not to mention fun!

PawPrints Newsletter

The PLIA has mailed out its annual PawPrints newsletter and it is now available online as well, here. Take a look at what your organization has been up to and read about our upcoming Annual Meeting. You will not want to miss it!

Our featured speaker is Amy Smagula, chief limnologist for NH DES, who will talk about her recommendations for long term milfoil management on Pawtuckaway Lake. You are encouraged to read her report here. One recommendation may be to use an herbicide, ProcellaCOR, to suppress milfoil in the higher density areas. She is opening the meeting, so be sure to arrive before she begins her remarks at 9:30 AM. She will be open to all your questions.

Nottingham Town Beach Clean Up

On April 15, 2023, Nottingham held a town wide clean up day. Volunteers from the PLIA pledged to return to the scene of their campaign last year at the Town beach. This year there was a surprise awaiting them – Autumn Ricker had brought his loader and rake to do the groundwork (so to speak) for their project to remove grasses and rocks and roots from the beach sand. While he was operating his heavy equipment, the crew got busy hauling fallen branches and debris from the area under the trees next to the beach. Then they removed more rocks and roots from the sand excavated by Autumn, resulting in a pristine area for summer visitors to enjoy. The PLIA would like to make Autumn Ricker an honorary member of their organization! Thanks to all for showing up and pitching in! Check out the before and after photos below. We are happy to help make Nottingham a Town to be proud of!

Full House for Invasive Species Training

On April 1, 2023, three dozen people filled a room at the Nottingham Town Offices for a training conducted by the Pawtuckaway Lake Improvement Association (PLIA). The topic was about spotting and preventing invasive species from entering a lake or pond. PLIA Lake Host Coordinator Dee Decker and Weed Watcher Co-Chair Steve Soreff made presentations about courtesy inspections of boats and trailers, and how to recognize aquatic pests like milfoil, phragmites, purple loosestrife, and water chestnuts.

PLIA member Sonoma Potavin explained about the dangers of Chinese mystery snails and her project to find and remove them from Pawtuckaway Lake. When the rain abated, the crowd moved outdoors for more instruction on ways to inspect boats for the presence of invasive “hitchhikers.”

The meeting ended with a pizza lunch and time for swapping stories and exchanging information about invasive species and how to help keep our lakes clean and safe. The program was a great success!

Zoom Meeting with State Park Expansion Officials


Recently the PLIA arranged for a Zoom meeting with the State Park Planning and Development Director, Johanna Lyons. The subject was the upcoming expansion of Pawtuckaway State Park to add 35 campsites and other amenities.

For those who were unable to attend this meeting, it was recorded and we are happy to make it available here:

Those attending the meeting were able to pose questions in the “chat” function of the meeting format. Those questions can be found here: Chat Questions State Park Zoom Meeting

The meeting host was able to summarize many of the questions which the speaker answered. That portion of the meeting can be viewed here:

The PLIA will continue to follow the progress of the expansion project and alert our members and friends to new developments as they arise.

Milfoil Status Report Presented to Nottingham Board of Selectmen

On October 17, 2022, Milfoil Team Chair Neil Santos made a presentation to the Nottingham Board of Selectmen at one of its regularly scheduled meetings. He outlined the history of milfoil infestations in Pawtuckaway Lake, emphasizing the hundreds of hours that PLIA volunteers have donated in efforts to find and extract this noxious threat to the lake.

The Town has contributed support to the PLIA’s Lake Host Program for many years. Dee Decker, Chair of this Program, trains and deploys people to conduct voluntary boat and trailer inspections at public ramps on the lake to prevent invasive aquatic species of all kinds from entering the water. Last year she organized a community training to include interested residents from other lakes in town.

In 2015, however, milfoil was discovered in Pawtuckaway Lake just off the State Park boat ramp, and since then it has been located – by PLIA volunteers – in many other coves and areas of the lake. Pawtuckaway is located entirely within the borders of Nottingham, and thus the Town has taken a special interest in preserving the health of its signature resource. For this reason, the PLIA felt it was important to keep the Board of Selectmen and citizens of Nottingham informed about the threat posed by the growing presence of milfoil in the lake. The Town beach and State Park have recently experienced significant milfoil discoveries.

Neil’s report demonstrated how widely distributed the areas of milfoil around the lake have become. The maps in his report are particularly dramatic and disturbing. He also outlined the efforts made by the PLIA and its volunteers to locate and contain these infestations. Finally, he explained what more comprehensive and possibly drastic measures might have to be taken if the situation continues to worsen.

One member of the Board of Selectmen urged others to visit the lake for themselves to learn about these undertakings and see how serious the problem has become. The best way to understand the scope of milfoil growth in Pawtuckaway Lake is to read Neil’s report, Pawtuckaway Lake Milfoil Status and Outlook. We think you will find this report comprehensive, informative, and eye-opening. Please join or renew your membership in the PLIA now and help us fight this threat to our lake!



“Banquet” tables had to be lined up for the feast

A few rain sprinkles did not deter attendees at the PLIA’s Annual Volunteer Appreciation Cookout on Sunday, September 25th from enjoying themselves. Under the shelter of the State Park Pavilion, about 40 members of the PLIA who volunteer their time in various programs and service projects gathered to eat, drink, and be merry.

Our chef dodged occasional rain
And, yes, we do recycle!

PLIA Board members organize this event every fall to celebrate and thank the folks who give of their energy and dedication to support our organization. They arrived early to set up and get ready for guests.

Our volunteers are Weed Watchers, Lake Hosts, Milfoil Team searchers and extractors, water samplers, neighborhood ambassadors, Chinese mystery snail eradicators, community service contributors, roadside trash pickers, event planners, trainers, fundraisers, committee members, and all-around supporters of the work the PLIA does. When they get together, you can feel the energy of their love for

Warming up by the cozy fire
Warming up while the food cooks

Pawtuckaway Lake fill the space and raise the roof!

President Steve Soreff
Vice-President Pete Wawrzonek
Milfoil Team Captain Neil Santos

Our President listed and praised all the many volunteer activities that have been performed this year. Plans for a winter event or events on the lake are already being hatched, according to our Vice President! This summer has been particularly challenging for our Milfoil Team, with more infestations to extract and fewer Weed Control Divers to do it! We are looking to train more of them for next year.

So, if you see one of our volunteers at work or at rest, please take a moment to say THANK YOU!

Third Annual Paddle Poker a Winner

On August 20, 56 paddlers entered the Third Annual Paddle Poker Tournament held on Pawtuckaway Lake. It was a fundraiser for the PLIA and raised a whopping $2,200 for our organization’s programs! Troy Brown of the Mountain Road Trading Post donated $250 to sponsor the event, as well as  discount coupons for merchandise at the store. Thank you, Troy!

There were five stations around the lake offering playing cards and refreshments to participants as they paddled the course. These hosts contributed generously to the fun and games: Tom Duffy and Karen Rydeen, Michele and Mark Lefebvre, Bob and Karen Given, Pete and Carol Wawrzonek, and Dee and John Decker. Thank you to these wonderful hosts!

After making their way around to all of the stations, tournament players landed at the beach of Barb and Les Thompson, where more refreshments were available and prizes were announced. Poker winners were: Kim Larkin (highest hand), Gayle Kenney (second highest hand), Mary Bates, (third highest hand), and Roger Frieden (Low hand).

Next were the lucky raffle winners, taking chances on a superb variety of gifts: Gregg Larkin and Roger Frieden (Mountain Road Trading Post gift boxes), Matt Currier (photographic print by Susan Medeiros), Pat Farrington (harvest basket from the Lefebvres), and Melody Bergevin (charcuterie Board by David Turcotte).

The weather was fine, the company was lively, the conversation was spirited, and the love for Pawtuckaway was abundant. What’s not to enjoy? Thanks to all who participated and made this event such a spectacular success – there was plenty of fun to go around (see for yourself)!